Saudi Arabia has taken a firm stance with Syria, telling its president to begin fully removing his troops from Lebanon in accordance with a United Nations resolution, or Saudi-Syrian relations will suffer.
A Saudi official said Crown Prince Abdullah delivered the warning on Thursday during a meeting in Riyadh with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. At the United Nations, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said he will be sending his special envoy (Terje Roed-Larsen) to Damascus and Beirut to discuss removing Syria's 14,000 troops in accordance with U.N. Resolution 1559. Mr. Annan said he hopes to be able to report progress on the Syrian withdrawal to the Security Council in April. In Beirut, pro-Syrian politicians ignored opposition demands for a full Syrian withdrawal as a pre-condition for joining the new government. Instead they have called for dialogue through the formation of a national unity government.